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Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 10:09am

Woodruff Reveals Internal Fraud

The Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta went public Tuesday with its discovery that a former employee stole $1,438,000 million from the organization over five years.

The internal probe began November 1 when an employee flagged suspicious invoices. The suspected perpetrator had already resigned at the end of October for unrelated reasons.

"An individual was able to find a weakness in our internal controls," said Larry Gellerstedt III, chair of the Woodruff Arts Center Board. "No one here knew any of this was going on."

Once alerted to the questionable documents, Woodruff leadership brought in external forensic auditors to verify more than 1,000 invoices.

The U.S. Attorney’s office is in the process of taking over the investigation.

“It’s appalling,” said Woodruff CEO Virginia Hepner. When asked about any internal shake-up as a result of the discovery, Hepner said “we are focusing on every role and system that touches financial matters, and have already begun making process and personnel changes.”

Officials declined to release the employee’s name and department Tuesday because of the pending legal case, but Hepner said he did admit to the fraud when confronted.

Hepner said she is satisfied the internal probe is complete and that the man worked alone.

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